Tag Archives: JuLis

NEOS makes debut in national opinion polls


It’s been a busy week of press coverage for one of Austria’s new parties, NEOS (and its electoral allies), culminating with their first mention in a national opinion poll (Karmasin published in Heute):

SPÖ – 27%; ÖVP – 24%; FPÖ – 20%; Greens – 14%; BZÖ – 2%; Team Stronach – 9%; NEOS – 2%

It may not be earth shattering but for a grouping with limited resources, which have gradually been raising their profile, it is a major jump forward. They will be hoping to build on the media coverage and their growing organisation to push these poll ratings towards the 10% they are aiming to achieve come the national elections.

Pinks is also attractive with Liberal Green

NEOS (party colour pink) has made the news this week with two major stories. First the new Liberal Centrist Party secured agreement on an electoral pact with the Liberal Forum (LIF). They already have working arrangements with the Liberal youth party (JuLis) and the new pact brings together Liberal groupings into a single electoral platform using the short name of Neos and longer ballot paper name Neos – Austria and New Liberal Forum.

Here are links to interviews from a Neos, LIF, and JuLis perspective (in German but Google translate works well enough):

NEOS – Matthias Strolz

LIF – Angelika Mlinar

Julis – Claudia Gamon

The second headline grabbing story was the defection of four Greens, all described as high ranking members of Green Economy – association of Green entrepreneurs linked to the Green party.

National news interview

Also this week Matthias Strolz (NEOS) and Christopher Clay (Pirate Party) were interviewed by Armin Wolf on ZIB2. neuwal have produced a transcript of the interviews (again in German but Google translate can help).

So Liberal, Green, Conservative lite, Centrist?

A few weeks ago I was hearing/reading of NEOS described as conservative lite. This week the accusations have included a LIF front and Green by another name.

The reality would seem to be a broad liberal movement drawing support from economic and social liberals, liberal greens, and centrists of left and right shades – a new type of movement in Austrian politics.

Who will win?

Austrian politics has had a well established party pattern. With NEOS, the Pirate Party and (even) the creation of Austro-Canadian billionaire Frank Stronach, Team Stronach, voters will not be short of something new and different.

The questions are who (if any) of the ‘new’ will capture the public’s imagination? Will people power and new ways of campaigning win out for NEOS, or the Pirate Party? Will Franks millions be the key factor? Or simply will it be the established parties with State Party Funding, well tested traditional campaign organisations, and established brands win out?

 Karmasin poll published in Heute 15th March 2013

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Today a new liberal party takes to the stage


With a conference here in Vienna today, at the Urania, Neos will be the latest addition to the growing list of political parties lining up to compete in next year’s General Election in Austria.

In the run-up to today’s launch here is what the papers have been highlighting about ‘Neos – the new Austria’:

oe24.at produced a succinct summary of the Party’s place in the political spectrum: Neos see themselves as a liberal party. There are suggestions of possible co-operation with the Liberal Forum (LIF) and the Young Liberals (JuLis). The Party is particularly hoping to attract support from liberal voters who currently find a home with the Greens or ÖVP (conservatives). The Party’s leading figure, Matthias Strolz, was formerly involved with the ÖVP.

Die Presse also highlighted the Party as a new liberal grouping and mentioned reports of possible connections with both the Liberal Forum (LIF) and the Young Liberals (Julis). It also flagged up that the Party unlikely to find common ground with the other recent arrival, Team Stronach, which has taken up a position on the conservative right. The paper also highlights that Neos see themselves as an alternative for those who feel the traditional parties are resistant to reform and view the (traditional alternative) FPÖ as too extreme to support.

The Die Presse article points out that the new Party has emerged from recent citizens movements calling for democratic reforms: It also flags up policy areas already adopted by the new Party – no conscription, no to new property tax, see ESM as a ‘tragedy’ but would have agreed.

Kurier article interestingly doesn’t mention the word liberal but does mention ÖVP a number of times. The paper highlights that Neos wants to reduce State funding of parties by 75%, schools should have full budget and staffing autonomy, tax and contribution rates should be reduced.

The newspaper also focuses upon Neos’s political reform agenda including more direct democracy.

Kleine Zeitung’s short article picks up on the point that the founding convention comprises people from all sectors of society and Austrian states, with about half of those attending being self-employed. It also highlights the Party’s desire to expand the use of referendum, as well as to abolition provincial and territorial tax for the states.

Wiener Zeitung’s coverage puts emphasis on the new Party’s policies, highlighting: administrative reform; health care reform; more autonomy for schools; changes to taxation; democratic reforms.

The article also talks about the Party’s approach to politics. In the spring the Party programme will be subject internet based debate. Elections for candidates will follow the example of the French Socialists with the Board, party members and the public through primaries equally involved in creating the Party List (Austria has a regional list system for national elections).

Like some of the other papers, the article also highlights the Party’s aim of achieving 10% of the vote in next year’s General Election.

Links

Website: http://neos.eu/

Twitter: @neos_eu @matstrolz

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How many Liberal Parties can you have?


A liberal faction has split from the Austrian Pirates Party and formed a new party the Real Democrats Austria (RDO) . The split comes at a time when the Pirates have fallen in the polls from the low teens at the beginning of summer down to 2% in the latest (Gallup) poll out this week.

This latest addition to the growing number of new parties joining the Austrian political scene – I count at least five this year – describes themselves as:

  • Our policy direction is clearly socially liberal, liberal civic and sustainable. Liberal, in the very word form.

Later this month the Österreich Spricht  (Austria Speaks) citizens’ initiative will be launching a political party which will:

  •  Target ‘homeless Liberals’
  • Be a ‘liberal political party’
  • New party drawing in support from those with formerly ‘green, black, red and Liberal‘ backgrounds.
  • Believes it can secure 10% of the popular vote at next general election in 2013

Austria ready has a Liberal party, Liberal Forum (LIF) who are members of the ELDR. Not currently represented in the national parliament the Party:

  •  Will stand in the 2013 election either as a single party or part of a likeminded platform
  • Their party leader in answer to the question, during an interview with neuwal.com, of where the LIF stands on the political spectrum where 0 (right) and 10 (left) replied that people probably see them as 7 (left) but they’d like to be seen as more 5 (middle).

On the Obama v Romney question (see my blog post) the response was Obama.

We also have a fourth Liberal party, JuLis. This group of Young Liberals broke away from LIF back in 2009. They are:

  •  An independent political party and faction Austrian Students Union
  • They concentrate their efforts on Student politics
  • Although their core principles are a broad Liberal statement their emphasis on the free market would probably align them more within the ‘Orange Book’ wing of the Lib Dem’s in the UK.

So that’s at least four overtly ‘Liberal’ groupings, of various shades, competing for Liberal and progressive votes and none of them in the current national parliament of Austria. Within that parliament ‘Liberal’ voters have primarily given their support and/or lent their vote to the Greens (social Liberals) & the conservative ÖVP (economic Liberals) and to a lesser extent the Social Democrats – SPÖ (social Liberals) & right-wing BZÖ (economic Liberals). Polling suggests many of these voters might be willing to switch but it’s going to be a noisy, crowded market place.

Finally there is of course one other potentially ‘liberal vote’ seeking party about to be launched, the yet to be named party of Austro-Canadian billionaire Frank Stronach. He will have the money and the platform. The question remains is his Party to be a Liberal or Conservative learning grouping?

The neuwal.com site is running a series of summer interviews with representatives of many of Austria’s smaller parties. Interesting further reading here.

 

 

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A new political party of young people & the entrepreneur


Am I missing a part of this story?

The Austrian-Canadian entrepreneur and founder of Magna International,Frank Stronach, has again been talking about ‘investing several million Euros’ in support of a new political party. See the report here in the Austrian Times.

He’s reported as being willing to ‘provide a new political party of young people with “a lot of money”’ if he gets “…..the feeling that there are the right people with the right political programme.”

So what would that programme look like? Well it should include “……simple and fair taxation system. I suggest a flat rate…”. Austria should slash “bloated bureaucracy” and stop building up wealth on debts.

This new political movement should be headed by students and engaged young people.

Hmmm… take a look around the JuLis website. Here we have a party of students who support a flat tax and are critical of government debt reduction  plans.

So have I missed something?

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Liberal comeback?


LIF, the Austrian Liberal Forum, is planning to try and make a comeback in the national elections scheduled for 2013. Interesting interview in today’s der Standard (for English readers, Google translate in reasonably helpful on this occasion:

http://derstandard.at/1308680943919/Liberales-Forum-Wir-sind-praktisch-schon-im-Wahlkampf

Curious about the dispute, mentioned in the article, with Julis during the EU 2009 election campaign.

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Liberalism in Austria – a little more knowledge


My efforts to understand the political landscape of Austria and increase my knowledge of the various political grouping took a step further forward, last evening, with an interesting and helpful exchange of tweets with Claudia Gamon of the Austrian Young Liberals.

As the exchange was in the public domain and political groups generally want to promote their ideas, I have reproduced the exchange below. My thanks to Claudia for taking the time to answer my questions:

Claudia: I’ll gladly answer all questions regarding Austria’s Young Liberal’s policy ideas, if you’re still interested 😉

Graham: Always interested to know more about fellow Liberals. Particularly keen to understand more about liberalism here in Austria.

Graham: ‘Liberal family’ is quite a broad church. Uk Lib Dems tend to be left of centre while German FDP more centre right. JuLis?

Claudia: we take the holistic approach of being both economically and socially liberal

Claudia: stemming from the idea that you can’t take a person’s private freedom, nor the one of his business 😉

Graham: So what do you see as the role of the Market and the State in relation to the individual and the economy?

Claudia: in relation to the individual: minimal. Only to create equal opportunities and help those who can’t help themselves

Claudia: to the economy: to provide a functioning, effective, competitive market and never more.

Graham: Markets are often better option, but often imperfect & sometimes can’t deliver. Or are you arguing completely free market?

Claudia: I wouldn’t: state regulation is there to provide the framework for an efficient market. To a certain, limited, extent.

Graham: Given the concentrations of wealth and power how do you create equal opportunities with a minimal state?

Claudia: in Austria it’s most definitely a problem of our unfair education system: chances are unequal from the age of 10 upwards

Graham: Agreed education is central but some of these problems linked to gap between rich & poor communities. How do you bridge gap?

Graham: Thanks for the chat this evening. Two other questions when you have time. 1. How do you differ from the other parties….

Graham: ……2. There is talk of a new Party or Parties being formed in Austria. Could a new Liberal Party be successful?

Once again, many thanks to Claudia for taking time for the exchange of tweets and giving me a little more insight, especially within the limits of twitters 140 characters 🙂

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Young Liberals make comeback


Two years after losing their representation in the AustrianStudents Parliament, the Young Liberals yesterday secured three seats in the countrywide student elections. The OVP linked Action Community remained the largest group (30.8% down 2.47%), whilst the socialist grouping increased their share of the vote (up 2.66% to 17.48%) and the Green grouping saw a drop in
vote share (down 1.6% to 18.71%). Looking through the results by individual university, Vienna University of Economics produced the best result for the Young Liberal (12.24% compared with a national percentage of 4.32%).

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